Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Code by Mukta Mahajani (Book Review: 4.75*/5) !!!

The 3rd book of the year which I picked up to read was again from my favorite publication house, Jaico, named “The Code” written by one of the prominent authors, Mukta Mahajani. The book also has the tagline of “Awake the hidden wisdom of your heart”. I have always hated reading any kind of short stories- either fictional or non-fictional. It has been on very rare occasions when I have liked a book consisting of short stories. This book gets into this rare shelf of my book consisting of my favorite books featuring short stories. Authoress has divided the book into few prime parts such as Conquering the Ego, Controlling Over-competitiveness, Mastering Overexpectations, Overcoming Jealousy, Curbing Overambition, Taming Anger and Beating Procrastination.

Each of these parts have several stories proving us why we need to follow a certain pattern in our life which can awaken the hidden wisdom of our heart. After every story, authoress has shared a paragraph referring it as “THE CODE” which is such a gem that I wanted to click each one of them and get it framed. Before this, it has only been in the case of Robin Sharma’s books and few other couple of authors where I have found every chapter or paragraph as gem. The questions on which authoress wants us to contemplate has been shared after each chapter which is such an introspective session that you would find it very hard to answer those questions and the moment you find an answer for that, you would understand the power of the story and “the code” shared just before those questions.

The book provides wonderful insight on the personal and professional life. What I liked about the stories shared by the authoress is that all of them are so unique and distinct that you will never get bored of reading them even in one single sitting. I took 5 stories each day and I must say many of those have got ingrained in my mind and personality. Another good thing that I need to mention is the quotes that authoress has mentioned before beginning of every story. How wonderful those quotes are that I just want to remember all of them and keep them with myself just like “the codes”. Overall, this is one of the rare books where I liked almost all the chapters. I would rate this book 4.75* out of 5. Highly recommended! Mukta, I am fan from today onwards.



Monday, February 25, 2019

Kumar Mangalam Birla by Drimi Chaudhuri (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

What I like about books from Jaico is that their focus is so passionate on the self-improvement that even if you are not liking any of their books still at the end of it you would find some motivation and inspiration through it. One of their best series is where they publish short biographies on India’s great personalities for us to know about them and learn from their experiences and lifestyle. The latest such book I ended up reading recently from Jaico is on the life of Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla written by Drimi Chaudhuri. The book discusses 10 secrets of Success from the life of Mr. Birla such as Dreaming Big, Aiming High, Learning from the Past, Building and then Expanding, Evolving with the World, Building a World-class Team, Keeping our Cool, Being Humble, Keep Learning and Being Prepared to Succeed.

Drimi has very well discussed the life of Mr. Birla on how he takes on from his previous generation from Birla dynasty and rather than falling on his knees, brought more name to the empire and made it grow like never before. The values and principles that he followed in his life is discussed which makes evident a lot of things about what such personalities live by to ensure they succeed at the end of all. It is nicely discussed how he enabled so many verticals and succeeded in almost all of them. And even in those he could not perform as well as others, he either ended up them successfully by merging together with another entity or selling it off keeping the sanctity of the institution alive.

The book is divided in ten chapters where each of them talks about one of the secrets of Success that the author has extracted out of Birla’s life. The decision-making techniques and transformation by Kumar Mangalam Birla is nicely appreciated in the book- the one which impressed me is the way he allowed non-vegetarian food in the office campus which was a strict NO before him as the whole Birla family had been strictly pure vegetarian. The words by the previous generations as quoted in the book tells how relevant Birla’s style of working has been that despite making some big changes in the existing culture, the earlier generation still adored his workstyle.

Overall, the book is a nice short read. I give it 3.5* out of 5.



Sunday, February 24, 2019

Ballad of a Belle by Rahul Tushar (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

There are few books you pick for their title, some for their cover page, some for their synopsis, some for their overall presentation in case when you are not aware about the Author. This book that I have just ended up reading has a title quite difficult considering the average readers in India which most of them won’t understand. What impressed me to pick this book up was the synopsis which arose quite a curiosity within me to read about this protagonist- Aarti who is basically from Kashmir and another girl, Priya, who is there to teach her about life against envy, jealousy, greed and treachery. The name of the book is “Ballad of a Belle” which basically means a slow romantic/sentimental song of a beautiful girl/woman (if I go through the dictionary meaning).

The book is almost 300 pages published by Addyyan Publication written by the debutant, Rahul Tushar. Talking about the writing style, I must say from nowhere it can be said about the author being a debutante with the way he carries the story from one plot to another without any of them sounding less interesting than the others. With each page, the story only keeps getting better as the protagonist of the book finds herself in new relationship and challenges of life with one constant always- Priya Majoomdar, her friend. The narration is very well handled which manages reader to stick with the book until its finished. I read this book while traveling to my office in Mumbai Local and I must say, it really became hard to keep the book in bag without completing it as the excitement after each page has always been high to know what happens next.

The characterization is handled very insightfully as each and every character in the book seems to be having their own story in the back-end which is also given importance along with the tale of the protagonist- Aarti. The characters of Aarti, Priya, Sanjive, Dilip, Arun, Stan and Sheetal remains ingrained in your mind even after hours of finishing the book which says a lot about the skills of the author. Another great thing that has been handled is the way author discusses about the Kashmir’s fact in the initial phase of the book then to the Corporate politics and in the end about the politics involved in mega-projects handled by big businessmen in India. All these social phenomenon is very nicely discussed in the book. The equation of Aarti and Priya is the USP of the book out of many colors and themes that the Author have tried touching.

Spoilers Ahead…….

Now talking about the drawbacks of the book: - The cover page is kept quite dark matching with the story of the book but I would have suggested author to add little more colors to it as the book is not only about darkness in the protagonist’s life. Secondly, there are too many deaths in the book which becomes irritating and unjustified after a point of time. It seems author is doing it only to add more darkness in the protagonist’s character. Thirdly, the way protagonist gets into each relationship so easily without giving 2nd thought to her already hell of a past is quite surprising. Fourth, the ending could have been positive after all that the protagonist had suffered in her life. Fifth and the last, the book is priced quite high.

Overall, the book is a quite nice read and I have big expectations from the author’s 2nd book “The Sinful Oracle” which has been introduced at the end of this book. I give “Ballad of a Belle” 3.75* out of 5.



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